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*The Voice*'s Karise Eden: From street kids to sing sensation!

<i>The Voice</i>'s Karise Eden: From street kids to sing sensation!

Already a crowd favourite, Karise Eden is proving dreams really can come true on The Voice.

Laughing and relaxed as a make-up artist fusses over her in preparation for a photo shoot, it’s hard to believe Karise Eden was homeless just a few short years ago. “When they did my make-up for The Voice, I cried… it made me feel like I am one of those girls who are pretty!” she says. “I say, I’m 19, but I’ve crammed a lot of life in me.”

By her own admission, Karise has had her fair share of ups and downs. “When I was younger, I had a lot of violent episodes. I dropped out of school in year seven, and when I was 12 or 13 I got diagnosed with agoraphobia. I didn’t go outside the house for years. “I would just sit in my room and listen to Bon Jovi, Guns N’ Roses and Led Zeppelin,” she recalls. “It was a pretty sad existence, but I guess if I didn’t have that, I wouldn’t have the obsession with music I do today.” A chance meeting with some old family friends, Marilyn and Frank, changed Karise’s life.

When she bumped into the couple at a music festival, they exchanged numbers, and Karise soon began working in their local business – a music shop. “I asked Uncle Frank to teach me to play guitar. He said, ‘It’s a big commitment, it’s a life commitment,’” Karise remembers. “I promised him I would play it forever, and that is something that has really saved me and pulled me through.

“Once I started playing, I became fixated on learning. I remember all the other kids sneaking out to go underage drinking, and I would say, ‘No, I need to learn this song.’” All that hard work has clearly paid off. Friends Lee, 41, and her daughter Jo, 15, say they will never forget the first time they heard Karise sing. “I was speechless. It kind of gave me goose bumps,” Jo says. “There’s so much emotion and passion in her voice. It’s amazing.” Fast forward four years and Karise, who now lives with Lee and Jo, is on the brink of cracking the big time.

Read more about how Karise's life has changed in this week’s Woman’s Day on sale Monday April 16, 2012.

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